"I bet you're going to see a little spark in him that you didn't see in 2012," Torres said. "He's going to have a lot of fun with it."
No one is confirming Phelps has his eye on a fifth Olympics in 2016. But to resume the grind of training and drug testing, surely the Rio Games are on his radar.
Bowman said Phelps is "pretty far" from being back in top form. He's been training Monday through Friday with Bowman's team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club in his hometown.
"He's gotten back into good shape since September," the coach said. "He can give a good effort and certainly not be embarrassed. He's in enough shape to swim competitively."
Phelps is the winningest and most decorated athlete in Olympic history. He captured 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall at the last three Summer Games. He broke Mark Spitz's record for a single Olympics by winning eight gold medals at Beijing in 2008.
If he comes back and doesn't dominate, Bowman said it wouldn't tarnish Phelps' reputation.
"His legacy is sealed," the coach said.
Olympian Katie Ledecky agreed that Phelps has nothing to lose by diving back in.
"It's just for his own personal kind of thing," she said. "He's already done so much. Whether he adds a couple more gold medals or not, what he's done has been so incredible, whatever he does next should be accepted by all."
Phelps had vowed that he wouldn't swim into his 30s. Since retiring less than two years ago, he has stayed busy with a chain of swim schools, a foundation focused on water safety and appearances on behalf of his sponsors. He devoted lots of time to golf and participated in a reality show with famed coach Hank Haney.